With a heartwarming story and tender illustrations, Jeanette Bradley's debut picture book is perfect for Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and any day when a child needs a reminder of the strength of a mother's love.
When Mama leaves her young penguin Kipling, he knows she'll return home soon―yet he still can't help but miss her. After all, Pillow Mama won't read, Picture Mama won't laugh, and Snow Mama is too cold to cuddle.
But then Kipling receives a special delivery from Mama, including a note that reads:
My love for you stretches across the wide ocean, through day and night, from earth to sky and back again.
And Kipling knows that no matter where Mama is, he is loved. Soon, Mama comes home, and Kipling ends the day where he belongs―right in her arms.
Kirkus: A package in the mail helps a baby penguin know that his mother loves him even though miles separate them.Kipling's Mama has to go on a trip (where and why are never explained), and he misses her, especially at dinner and at bedtime. The next morning, he tries some clever surrogates, "But Pillow Mama wouldn't read, / Picture Mama wouldn't laugh… // …and Snow Mama was too cold to cuddle." (Pillow Mama is a square cushion with glasses that look like Mama's perched on top.) And though Kipling wishes for Mama on each of his wishing rocks, all he gets is a soggy box—but it's from Mama! It contains treasures for Kipling as well as a paper heart expressing Mama's love and a picture of her hugging that heart. Kipling immediately sets out to make Mama her own care package, and before he knows it, she's back, his package tucked under her wing. Roly-poly Kipling belongs to a family of chinstrap penguins. All the animals are anthropomorphized, from the penguins' house and Kipling's red boots to all the species—Arctic terns, pelicans, whales, and seals—that are involved in delivering the packages (some even punch a time clock!). The artwork works with the spare text to keep the focus on how Kipling is feeling; readers are sure to empathize. This will provide both reassurance to children missing their own loved ones and ideas for staying connected. (Picture book. 3-8)
PW: Love, Mama
Jeanette Bradley. Roaring Brook, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-62672-949-0
A toddlerlike penguin named Kipling longs for his mother’s return in author-illustrator Bradley’s lovely and empathetic debut. Kipling hasn’t been left at home alone, but that doesn’t soften the sting of her absence, nor do replacement “mamas” he tries out: “Pillow Mama wouldn’t read. Picture Mama wouldn’t laugh,” writes Bradley as vignettes show Kipling trying to stage a storytime session with a yellow pillow and showing off a dress-up outfit to a picture frame. A special delivery from Mama, which includes a card with a message of love transcending distance, brightens Kipling’s spirits and inspires him to send one in return. Bradley’s soft paintings and understated narration create a rich maritime world—and the comforting assurance of enduring love—that should readily resonate with the children of working parents, even if their Mamas don’t head off to work on an ice floe, as Kipling’s mother does. Ages 2–6. Agent: Emily Mitchell, Wernick & Pratt. (Jan.)
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